Thursday, August 30, 2007


This week I went on a short trip to Amsterdam to do some espresso workshops and taste group discussions for Philips. I had a few hours to walk around town and I stumbled upon a small coffee shop ... wait, that means something different there ... well, a café then, with a three group Mirage. For those who don't know this machine, it's made by Kees van der Westen and is a work of art as well as one of the technically best machines around.
Although the Italian robusta-laden dark roasted espresso they made at De Koffie Salon, as the place is called, was not to my liking it was brewed pretty well and I had a great little chat with the baristas. It's always nice to find a good coffee place when you're out of town.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Casper wins DM in Cup Tasting!!!

The first ever danish championship in Cup Tasting is just over. Our two competitors Klaus and Casper finished in respectively seventh and first place!!!!

We are very proud of Casper and Klaus but also congratulates Jakob Dupont (Peters brother) from Copenhagen Roaster who came in second and third place winner Karen Dysted (who right now is starting her own coffee shop here in Copenhagen - check out!

There were a lot of good cuppers at the competition which was both fun and very exciting allthough a bit stressing in the logistics behind the scenes!

We're out to celebrate!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pictures from the Collective

We have a Flickr account! So now you can see lots and lots of pictures from our new adventures into the world of coffee. Click here or on the fancy Flash link to the right.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Coffee samples ready

Our first samples of roasted coffees are ready. This week it will be possible to get a visit from Casper and taste some of our coffees if you are interested.
So, what are these first new exciting coffees going to be? Well, first a superb Kenya AA Top from a wet mill named Kariaini (such a nice simple name, eh). It has the most wonderful honey-like sweetness and a lively acidity. Next it's the Daterra Sweet Collection for those who'd appreciate a very heavy bodied coffee with low acidity. There is also a Guatemalan while we wait for the Finca Vista Hermosa lot to arrive. And last but definitely not least: Our brand new espresso blend. Stay tuned for the name of that one! ;-)

Danish Cupping Championship

The coming weekend I am one of the organizers of the first Danish Cup Tasting Championship at the Eat 07 exhibition. Linus has volunteered to help and Casper and Klaus are going to compete :-) The winner will represent Denmark in the World Cup Tasting Championship. It is going to be a fun event and we hope to see a lot of people there. Saturday the 25th at 12 o'clock.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Barista Guild of Taiwan interviewing our Roast Master

Our Friend Joe Hsu from Orsir Coffee in Taiwan has send me a link to the website of their Barista Guild in Taiwan. They have put out an interview which I did with them - Its not often you see your own words written in Chinese (they also have the english version)!,106.0.html

They also have an interview with another good friend of ours - Tim Wendelboe - he has been answering some of the same questions I was asked. I am glad to see that it seems like we share some common ideas. Tim and I also have a common background as we met in the norwegian championship in 1999 where we both participated in our first barista competition. At the competition back then I think both Tim and I and a bounch of other barsistas who wasn't good enough to get into the top three were all 'crownd' as number 4. I guess you can say that Tim cought up on this later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Espresso Blend v1.3

Our espresso blend is coming together. We've had a pretty good idea about what we wanted to create and how we would achieve it right from the beginning. But getting the roast profiles and blend percentages dialed in takes a lot of experimentation and patience. For us a blend is a living thing that changes year round as the green coffee looses some of it's freshness after harvest. Consequently you have to adjust the blend frequently if you want to maintain a similar taste profile. Consistency is the goal for a lot of roasters, but at the same time you have to accept that coffee is an agricultural product that changes a lot both from year to year but also in the time after harvest. Anyway, the espresso today was a little too fresh but still had what I look for in an espresso; heaps of body, sweetness, a delicate acidity and a lingering aftertaste. It's going to be interesting to see how much better it's going to get once we go full speed on production. We used my La Marzocco GS/3 and a Compak K-10 conical grinder to do the tasting - not the worst setup for a small espresso tasting :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kenya Cupping

A few days ago we cupped some different Kenyan coffees and decided which one we will offer this coming season. It had an amazingly intense aroma all the way through.

We always start a cupping with evaluating the 'dry aroma' - the smell of the fresh ground coffee. Then we smell the coffee as water has been added and it is steeping. Again as we break the crust of the coffee on top. And of course the aromatic experience once you start to slurp the coffee.

In this particular coffee (which we'll talk much more about in the future) we found lots of deep fruit, ripe green grapes, caramel and rose hip ("Hyben" as we call it in Danish). Now we're waiting patiently to get this coffee home and offer it to our customers.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Back from Japan

I returned from Japan a couple of days ago. Sigga Dóra and I had four days of workshops for UCC Ueshima Coffee Company in Tokyo and Kobe the days after. So here's my attempt at a recap of the days:

The WBC was terrific. I had a great time being able to catch up with old friends. It's almost like a family reunion since some of these people only meet once a year.
A major highlight of the trip was to meet up with Edwin Martinez from Finca Vista Hermosa. You can read about his experience in Tokyo on his blog. I had to make sure not to bombard him with questions and take all his time as I know he was there also to meet new people. Edwin has a really great understanding of the barista craftsmanship and it was great to talk to him about the WBC, his coffee, the future and our beginning grower-roaster relationship.

I also had a most interesting conversation with Doug Zell, Chairman of the WBC and president of Intelligensia Coffee Roasters about Direct Trade and the problems in the global coffee trade. Intelligensia has done a fantastic job in the US over the past years and Doug was very eager to share his knowledge and experience with us.

During the WBC I spent most of the time talking with competitors and enjoying the atmosphere. I must admit it felt pretty good to be there without having to worry about four suitcases of cups, glasses and accessories. I couldn't help getting a little nervous on their behalf though. Lene, Jeppe, James, Stephen, Sonja, Imma, Bronwen, Ken, Willy, John, Tim, Costas, Einar, Andrew, Fritz and countless others made the back room a very fun place to be.

I also spent a little time on the show floor looking at new products. Most interesting for me was the siphon brewers. It's a big thing in Japan and they even had the national siphon championship at the other end of the room. I really like siphon brewing (have a Bodum Santos at home) and the way they do it in Japan is really neat. Single cup servings, brewed by order and there's a certain show element over the whole thing I really enjoy.

The rest of the time was spent watching competitors. This year seemed to have more molecular gastronomy-inspired signature drinks, which worked for some - not for others. Espressos and techniques in general seemed to be more stable and I saw some excellent latte art too. It's always hard to tell who's good from the audience as you're not tasting the drinks. So the finalists actually came as a bit of a surprise to me. Maybe because it was the first time no Nordic country made it to the finals. But it was great to see a coffee producing country, Brazil, finally make it. I watched the finals from the back room - especially a very nervous Stephen Morrisey (James Hoffmann's coach) who looked like the nervous father in a waiting room. The atmosphere was both intense and laid back and it was great to see so many smiles. I got to announce the winners and boy was I nervous... I literally had no idea of the outcome but was very happy to see James taking the price. The WBC finished up with the customary barista party and vodka drinking. Good times...

After the WBC I had workshops for UCC. Very well organized and attended. Two two-group La Marzocco GB5 and Mazzer grinders, cameras and projection screen, good work tables and a great translator. We spent two days in Tokyo, one in Kyoto and the final day in Kobe, where UCC's headquarters are situated. Many thanks to Mr Ueshima for bringing us in and hosting such a great event.

WBC next year is in Copenhagen and the organizers have a lot to live up to. Hope to you all here in our hometown then!

I have uploaded my pictures to my Flickr account - see also the link on the right side.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Finca Vista Hermosa, Guatemala

You may have noticed a link to the right side on our blog which says Finca Vista Hermosa.

Finca Vista Hermosa is a coffeefarm in Guatemala and has a very special meaning for us.
It is mangaged by som really dedicated people. Our most close contact has been with the son of the owner - Edwin Martinez, but like all good farms, it is a place that has its greatness due to many many people with different skills.

The first lot of coffee we have bought to The Coffee Collective is from Finca Vista Hermosa. It is now on its way over the atlantic to Copenhagen. From our cupping of the samples, we have great expectations to this lot - we believe we will use it both as single estate coffee and as part of our espresso blend.

We will post a lot more information about Finca Vista Hermosa and Edwin as our webpage develops - for now we are just looking very much forward to having their coffee in-house and to start working with it in respect of all the work they already have put into it!

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

A New World Barista Champion

Just got back to my hotel here in Tokyo after crowning the new World Barista Champion 2007: James Hoffmann from the UK. His performance was excellent and he did way better in the final round than in the preliminaries. He features a single origin espresso from Costa Rica, used a straight Kenyan in his cappuccinos and mixed the two blends after brewing for his signature drink. James is a really nice guy, whom I've been fortunate enough to spend some time with in the last year. I am so happy he's the new champion and I'm sure he'll do extremely well.
If you wanna see more detailed reports from the WBC got to They have done an outstanding job of updating live from the competition floor and back room.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Coffee may Prevent Cancer

Just a little encouraging link to an article stating that new research indicates that the combo of coffee and exercise might prevent skin cancer! Good news for us coffee lovers!

WBC day 1

The World Barista Championship is well under way. Day one was a long one with around 25 competitors. Danish champ, Lene Hyldahl, did very well (in spite of a lady fainting in the front row). Sweeden also looked very good. heck, they all did. It's impossible to tell from the audience floor who'll be in the finals. This morning James Hoffmann from the UK is opening the day. Last night the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan held a spectacular Gala-dinner. They had a show on the stage whit a dancing coffee bean. I'll try to post video when I get back home. It was great!
The picture is the prices - the reason all these baristas are here ;-) This year there are also prices for best sig drink, best cappuccino, best espresso and a Congeniality price voted by the baristas for the one who'd been the kindest to the rest. A good idea to instill a sense of responsibility towards each other in the barista back room and preparation area.
I'm off to see James and all the others now.